Colorado Governor Releases Draft GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap for Public Comment

Wednesday, September 30, 2020

DENVER — The State of Colorado today released a public comment draft of its Greenhouse Gas Pollution Reduction Roadmap which details early action steps the state can take toward meeting the near-term goals of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) pollution 26% by 2025 and 50% by 2030 from 2005 levels.

“Colorado is experiencing two of the three largest wildfires in the history of our state, and that’s just one of countless indicators that climate change presents an increasing threat to our economy and our way of life. From day one, my administration has prioritized a swift transition to renewable energy and bold climate action, and this Roadmap is a significant step forward to continue to reduce pollution for the benefit of the health and well-being of our communities and our economy,” said Governor Jared Polis. “We have taken historic steps towards our goals, and this Roadmap will help guide the critical efforts necessary to reap the full benefits of boldly and equitably transitioning to a clean energy economy. We look forward to acting boldly to protect our way of life, today and for generations to come.”

In May 2019, Governor Polis both signed into law the Colorado Action Plan to Reduce Pollution Act which put in place science-based GHG emissions reduction targets and directed state agencies to develop a plan for how to meet these targets. A multiagency effort led by the Colorado Energy Office (CEO) in partnership with the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE), Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), Colorado Department of Agriculture, Colorado Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Colorado Department of Local Affairs(DOLA)━and working with the national consulting firm Energy + Environmental Economics━ has developed a baseline emissions inventory, modeled effects of the 14 climate and energy bills adopted during the 2019 legislative session, projected a possible pathway to meeting state GHG emissions reduction goals, and identified near-term action recommendations.  

The draft GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap (Roadmap) analysis shows transportation is now the leading source of GHG emissions in Colorado followed by electricity generation, oil and gas development and buildings. Findings show meeting the 2025 and 2030 goals is achievable with existing cost effective technologies, but progressing toward those goals will require additional policies beyond the actions the state has taken already. Progress will require continuing the transition to low-cost renewable energy and reducing pollution from Colorado’s cars and trucks by accelerating the transition to electric vehicles, as well as strategies to reduce the need for driving. The draft analysis also shows Colorado will need deep reductions in methane pollution from the oil and gas industry, as well as reductions in methane from landfills, sewage treatment plants, and other sources. Colorado will need to both make buildings more energy efficient and invest in beneficial electrification that starts to shift building and water heating from fossil fuels to the cleaner electrical grid. 

Read the Executive Summary and chart summarizing the near-term action steps recommended in the draft Roadmap can be found here. Additional materials, including a technical appendix and workbooks with the modeling inputs and assumptions, are available on the GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap webpage

State agencies have conducted broad outreach since beginning the Roadmap development process. To date, state staff have had more than 40 meetings with groups representing community organizations that serve disproportionately impacted communities, local governments, Southern Ute leadership and environmental program staff, Ute Mountain Ute environmental program staff, the business community, environmental advocacy organizations, the outdoor recreation industry, utilities, the oil and gas industry, mining, farmers and ranchers. In August, CEO Executive Director Will Toor, CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew, and CDPHE Director of Environmental Programs John Putnam were joined by more than 300 Coloradans in a virtual listening session.

Feedback from the outreach meetings led to several changes in the Roadmap including modeling impacts from COVID-19, changes to modeling of oil and gas emissions, and the development of a more targeted assessment of pollution reduction from policies the state is considering for early action. A second public listening session will be held via Zoom on October 20, 2020. The current public comment period will be open through 5:00 p.m. MT, Sunday, November 1, 2020. 

“There’s a lot of work ahead of us to address the climate crisis, and we’re going to continue moving forward with a rigorous, data-driven process to implement the policies that are right for Colorado’s environment, people, disproportionately impacted communities, and economy,” said John Putnam, director of environmental programs for CDPHE.

“With our collective progress toward clean energy and the state’s leading utilities committed to closing coal-fired power plants and replacing them with wind and solar energy━it’s time to invest in the beneficial electrification of transportation and buildings to expand both the economic and climate benefits of our cleaner electrical grid,” said Will Toor, CEO Executive Director.

“Colorado has shown that we can take meaningful steps to meet our climate goals while working collaboratively with private sector stakeholders. The Roadmap will help us accelerate those efforts to achieve ambitious targets and help make our state an even healthier place to live,” said CDOT Executive Director Shoshana Lew.

"Colorado's natural resources play a critical role in achieving our ambitious climate goals━the Roadmap makes clear the importance of reducing emissions from oil and gas development and coal mine methane, and promoting conservation and restoration to sequester more carbon in our forests, grasslands and natural areas," said DNR Executive Director Dan Gibbs.

"Supporting our producers through voluntary, incentive-based solutions such as soil health, on-farm renewable energy and managed grazing will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and further carbon sequestration on our working lands while helping ensure agriculture continues to thrive," said Colorado Commissioner of Agriculture Kate Greenberg. 

“DOLA has provided matching capital grants to spur local governments to undertake creative approaches to address climate change through its Renewable Energy Challenge grant program,” said DOLA Executive Director Rick Garcia.

The public comment draft is available to download via the GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap webpage. The GHG Pollution Reduction Roadmap is expected to be finalized and released before the end of the year.